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About Fish In: Fish Out

”Fish in: Fish out,” FI:FO, for short, is the term used to describe the practice of feeding farmed fish wild fish as food. Specifically, it describes the formula used to calculate how many pounds of wild fish it takes to produce a pound of farmed fish.

Until just a few years ago, most aquafeed consisted mainly of fishmeal and fish oil from wild-caught small ocean fish not commonly used for human consumption, such as anchovies and menhaden.

Few studies have been conducted on the effect of these practices, but amid growing environmental concern, the U.S. soy industry made a commitment to research, develop, and promote specially formulated soy-based feeds to replace up to one-half of the fishmeal in feeds for many marine-farmed species and all of the fishmeal in many freshwater-farmed species. As a result:

• Globally, the Feed Conversion Ratio of aquaculture has dropped to ½ lb of wild fish in to 1 lb of farmed fish out, on average.

• The FI:FO for marine fish such as salmon continues to decrease, and is currently at 1.5 lbs of wild fish for 1 lb of premium quality marine fish produced.

• The practice of using soy in aquafeed is successfully reducing the pressure on wild fish resources.